Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Level Playing Field


Luke 14:7-9
When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable:  "When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited.  If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, 'Give this person your seat.'  Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place."

Did you know my husband, Danny, and I don't have cable television?  Now do not think for a moment that we can't watch shows we like via Netflix and Hulu.  But we can't view news/shows/sports in real time.  Honestly, that's not a bummer.

Until it comes to college football season.

Oh, how we miss watching Georgia and Georgia Tech, Danny's alma mater, games!  The now old-fashioned radio comes through for us, though it's not the same as seeing the action on the big screen.

So imagine our excitement when we realize, while at our recent cabin stay, we can view both Georgia Tech and Georgia play live.  It's the ultimate icing on the cake for our idyllic visit to the mountains the day before we are scheduled to depart.

The Tech game comes on first.  It is truly a see-saw battle on the field with Virginia Tech (and can anyone explain to me what a 'Hokie' is?).  But the Jackets manage to squeeze out a 28 to 22 victory, moving the team to #2 in the ACC Coastal division.  Quite the accomplishment!

But the game we are convinced will be a blow-out is the SEC #1 ranked Georgia Bulldogs against the #10 Auburn Tigers.

It's a blow-out, alright.  Powerhouse Georgia seemingly pulls the plug on their winning streak, falling to Auburn in a whopping 40 to 17 loss.  What a crushing disappointment for the team and the fans.  In one fell swoop, Georgia is plucked from #1 and dumped to #7 in the rankings.

That's one big piece of humble pie to chew and swallow.

Whether it was the pride and conceit a #1 standing can create in a team, or if they were simply having an off-day, we may never know.  But the humiliation remains.

And Jesus' parable in Luke 14 comes to mind.

We all tend to think more highly of ourselves than is actually the case.  Pride?  Yes!  Instead, we should be humble, remembering that rankings or not, we are all #1 in the eyes of God.

He alone levels the playing field.

And win or lose in the game of football, or in life, He will never cease to love us.

Amen.

28 comments:

  1. I am sure my best bud is thrilled that Auburn won. (I don't really watch football.)
    Loved your analogy, too.

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    1. I'm sure he is, Roy. Auburn really has a touch team. Glad you liked the analogy!
      Love and blessings!

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  2. Martha, I just love the way you are sensitive to the Lord's Spirit to use real-life situations to teach His truths.
    There are many lessons to be learned in sports and humility is a BIG one. Thanks for reminding us that God's love never fails even when our ego gets in the way!

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    1. Thank you, Beckie, for your kind and complimentary words. It is so very easy to allow our egos to take over, especially in sports. I'm grateful that God loves us in spite of ourselves.
      Love and blessings!

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  3. My coach used to tell our high school basketball team that you go out and give it everything because any team has the capacity to beat another team (whether you think you're better or don't have a chance) on any given day. There are so many factors that play in so it is definitely good to maintain humility and keep after it. Such a great reminder! Thanks Martha.

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    1. Your coach had such wisdom, Jason. That's exactly what the players needed to hear, and it is the beginning of understanding what it takes to truly succeed as a team and a person. Pride can definitely be a stumbling block, indeed. May we all live humbly.
      Love and blessings!

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  4. No matter what, God loves us perfectly, fully, completely, lavishly.

    And in the process, everything else begins to fade away ...

    Thanks for sharing wise words with us, Martha.

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    1. Oh, yes God loves us in ways beyond our comprehension, Linda. And you are so right - when we recognize this, nothing in the world can hold a candle to it. He is and always will be everything we need.
      Love and blessings!

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  5. Martha, you've once again crafted a solid post with real world examples. Games where the underdog wins are exciting--especially if you're cheering for the underdog. Some times those highly ranked teams can get overly confident and then fall. God has a special place in his heart for the underdog, in my opinion.

    Love and blessings!

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    1. You know, Kim, I think you're absolutely spot-on with this - God does love the underdog. Not that he doesn't love the others playing against them, but He constantly, and consistently, reminds us of our need to be humble lest we be humiliated. On another note, hope Iowa keeps on winning! :)
      Love and blessings!

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  6. A good reminder, Martha. I love that whether we win or lose, God will never cease to love us. Love and hugs!

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    1. Yes, Trudy, God is with us in our victories and in our defeats. His love never fails!
      Love and blessings!

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  7. I don't know why, but I was never any good at any sports at school. Football, cricket, rugby, athletics - failed the lot. Maybe God was trying to save me the humiliation of coming last. I was good at sitting though. I could sit all day and watch others work hard.

    God bless.

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    1. I hear you, Victor. The only "sport" I was any good at was cheerleading - Lol! Do enjoy watching a good match, though.
      Love and blessings!

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  8. My grandson and his dad are big Buckeye fans. How wonderful when they beat Penn State. How humiliating when they lost big the next week only to come back and destroy Michigan State. I've always said, "Any given team can beat any given team on a given day." (Wise right?) I'm glad the ground is level at the feet of Jesus.

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    1. Bill, I love what you said about "any given team." That's absolutely correct, especially when it comes to high school/college sports. Still, win or lose, if you're a die-hard fan, you'll root for them no matter what. Hmm, a lot like how God is always rooting for us.
      Love and blessings!

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  9. Great story and lesson. It is that nasty pride that makes a beautiful creation ugly. And humility makes a fallen world beautiful. Excellent reminder.

    Glad you got to watch!

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    1. Amen, Floyd! As we too well know, pride goes before the fall. We've all been there and done that at some sad point in our lives. The good news is we never have to stay there. Glad we got to watch, too, no matter the outcome!
      Love and blessings!

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  10. And the opposite of that pride is living in the pit of self demeaning. The sin of denying the majesty of God's creation in ourselves. This coin is double sided and each side is a denial of Who God is.
    Great Lesson!
    Blessings!

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    1. Amen, Lulu, you are absolutely right here. God created us as His children, and it is a sin to live as though we weren't. Glad you liked the lesson here.
      Love and blessings!

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  11. Oh yes...let us take heed or we may likewise fall...Pride definitely goes before the fall, and we as Christians tend to fall into that trap very easily if we are not careful. It is too easy to point our finger at the rest of the world and not see our own sins staring us in the face...Great message and reminder here. Stay humble before the Lord...and don't give way to pride. I'm looking in the mirror and reminding myself here... Thank you.

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    1. Yes, Pamela, it is so easy to give in to the sin of pride. Been there, done that! You know what they say about pointing a finger at others - there are three more pointing back at you. Let us remove the plank from our own eyes before we criticize the mote in another's.
      Love and blessings!

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  12. We don't have cable either! Netflix but that's limited as so much of it is garbage.

    I love how wise the Bible is. Seems to me, even non-believers can learn valuable lessons from it.
    Humble pie is not tasty. But God is more concerned with who we are and who we are becoming than with our comfort.
    I've eaten my share of humble pie and I will continue to do so as pride is a sneaky fiend who gets me from time to time. Thank God for His grace, love and patience.

    I appreciate your blog. I'm sorry I haven't been active lately. Life is getting more and more busy and writing/blogging are going to the sidelines. Perhaps that will change one day, but not anytime soon.
    Praying you have a blessed holiday season.

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    1. I certainly hear you, TC, when it comes to finding the time to keep up with blogging. Simply going out of town for me puts a kink in the works. And if I'm not mistaken, you are raising a family, and that right there demands so much time and attention. Being retired allows me the leisure time for blogging.
      Yes, I do believe that non-believers can learn so much the Bible. I often find myself hoping that someone who doesn't know the Lord will come across my blog and actually begin to want to know God. I pray God would use me and my words in that way.
      Thank you for your kind words about my blog, too. I so appreciate yours!
      Love and blessings!

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  13. I began a training program recently for spiritual directors. In discerning whether to undertake this training, a word kept coming to me --humility.

    Add to that a new martial arts teacher I've started studying with. He teaches a style that I'm unfamiliar with. My first class was humbling, to say the least.

    So I'm grateful that life continues to offer me lessons in humility.

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    1. Humility is an awesome teacher, isn't it, Galen? Not always comfortable, that's for sure, but so necessary if we wish to grow spiritually.
      And I'm excited to learn you are training to be a spiritual director! Keep that humility up front and center, and you're bound to excel in this endeavor.
      Love and blessings!

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